Jesse Dvorak is a photographer and independent filmmaker in Los Angeles who plays in the realm of the subconscious truths and ephemeral beauty. His atmospheric imagery invites the viewer to search for a deeper meaning, while leaving it up to them to discover it on their own. For this set he collaborated with the model Juliette and with the help from Taylor (hair/mua) and Monica (stylist).
How did the idea for the series come about?
My desire was to challenge myself and to anyone viewing this work to be forced to stop for a minute and see something beyond just a picture of a lovely, undressed woman. It is so easy to flip through Instagram and like a picture of a really hot model, then move on. It’s because those images really have nothing to say other than ‘hot woman‘. My effort (I don’t know if I succeeded) was to bring someone to a halt. To see something more raw, honest, and gentle where the nudity even subverts the desire to instantly objectify and dismiss. The metaphor I presented my team with was: in a world full of fleeting treble, we wanted to be a deep, resounding bass note.
“How am I capturing the woman? Where are the eyes drawn, and what does that communicate? If I can’t answer these questions with any thought or purpose, I don’t think I have a right to apply the term of artist to myself.“
Can we photograph the female body in a more powerful way?
I’m sure we can. I don’t claim to have any mastery of this, but we as artists need to keep asking ourselves what is the purpose of what we create and try to get better. Nudity in art has been around a long time. Why do I want to shoot a nude woman, and can I say that it’s interesting or meaningful? How am I capturing the woman? Where are the eyes drawn, and what does that communicate? If I can’t answer these questions with any thought or purpose, I don’t think I have a right to apply the term of artist to myself. In regards to power, it’s also about the process. I sat down with my model before we shot and asked her what she wanted from this shoot. What did she want to say? I hope to create a space of true collaboration and trust with my models (especially nude) that actually empowers them while shooting, which hopefully translates. I wasn’t just taking pictures of her, but she was an equal participant in the conversation. I also give my models final veto power on whether the final edits ever go out publicly.
How would you define beauty?
There are so many things in life and in the world that are beautiful, I don’t know if it’s even helpful for me to create a definition of it. I do find myself particularly drawn to the beauty of vulnerability and brokenness. I think it shows up in a lot of my work. Showing things that are broken, abandoned, or secret has a specific beauty to it that I seem to be endlessly fascinated with.
What inspires you and what makes you happy?
Inspirations are truly infinite when you look at nature, art, and human experiences. I’m happy when I get to create something that is beautiful and everyone involved all had some sort of therapeutic experience in the process of it. I’m happy seeing my dog play in the ocean.
Film or digital?
All mediums require a discipline that is to be respected. I love both film and digital, so to me it’s just about the end result. The artists can use whatever means they want or need to say what they want to express.
Lastly, what’s next for you?
More photoshoots in the next few weeks, and I am pushing forward to get the feature film I wrote off the ground this year.